In a move that’s elicited strong responses, President Ruto recently issued a controversial pardon to Davy Koech, the ex-Director of the Kenya Medical Research Institute (KEMRI), among 37 others. Koech was previously convicted for fraudulent acquisition of public property and was serving a six-year prison term from 2021. His conviction followed a thorough investigation exposing numerous financial wrongdoings during his tenure at KEMRI. These charges include fraudulent acquisition of KEMRI’s property and the illicit acquisition of various sums from the institution, including misappropriation of funds designated for the Kisumu Center for Disease Control.
President Ruto’s decision to grant clemency has stirred up considerable debate. Supporters of the move emphasize Koech’s prior contributions to medical research and argue for his reintegration into society after serving a considerable part of his sentence. Detractors, however, argue that this decision could seriously undermine anti-corruption efforts and set a dangerous precedent for those in power.
Alongside Koech’s pardon, the President also pardoned 2,944 petty offenders and 2,117 long-term offenders, perceived as a measure to mitigate prison overcrowding and lessen the load on the justice system.